5 Books I’ve Started (But Haven’t Finished)

liar liarAllow me to introduce you to my albatrosses, the scourges on my reputation as an otherwise greedy consumer of the written word. These are the books with pristine spines and bookmarks barely protruding above page 17 or chapter 5. I will likely never finish these books, and it’s certainly not because they’re bad; some are by some of my favorite authors, in my preferred genres, even. So why couldn’t I drag my eyes across their pages? Perhaps I was derailed when some well-meaning friend loaned me Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when I was in the midst of one, or maybe amnesia following a horrific croquet accident rendered me temporarily incapable of doing the rereading necessary to complete another. In any case, while I’m not admitting that it’s MY FAULT, I’m coming clean about the books I’ve never been able to finish.

1. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
While Anna Karenina is one of my favorite novels of all time, my ereader tells me I’ve read a measly 2% of Tolstoy’s other masterpiece.

2. The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay, by Michael Chabon
I have tried and failed three times to get into this book, which has characters I love, but doesn’t draw me in as completely as Chabon’s other novels have.

3. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
This book, well-loved by my closest friends and mother (my literary kindred spirits, all of them), eludes me. And I typically love family tragedies! You can’t KEEP Joyce Carol Oates’ novels away from me!

4. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
Honestly, my dog ate this one. The same Thursday in 2005 when he ate my iPod and an entire loaf of bread. The bite marks on the cover remind me of a perfectly awful day in my life, so I’ve basically given up on finishing it, ever.

5. To Have and Have Not, by Ernest Hemingway
In the same way that I can watch six “Downton Abbey” episodes in a row, I love to devour authors serially. Consequently, I started this after consuming A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Sun Also Rises in just a couple of weeks. Maybe it was a loss of momentum, or the fact that I was 15, but I found Harry Morgan too subtle, and, therefore, inaccessible.

Phew! I feel much better. But now it’s your turn: what are the skeletons on your bookshelf?

  • Jennifer Trimmier

    Three Cups of Tea – I do care but apparently not that much.

    • barjobo

      i read the young peoples’ version and then tried the adult one. still couldn’t read it; and now it is on the fiction shelf, eh?

    • Amy Karasick

      Horrible and boring, I totally agree. A magazine article, yes. Not a book.

    • MDMassageTherapy

      This was the required reading for my first year at college. I just couldn’t stand this book and I refused to finish it.

  • Ana Berkovich

    I have started but not finished Les Miserables. I tried to read it again before the new movie came out but to no avail. At least I know enough about it to hold my own in a conversation!

  • David

    I could not get through A Confederacy of Dunces. I understand the whole premise is that you are not supposed to like the main character, which I surely didn’t. This, as a result, made it impossible for me to finish the book no matter how hard I tried.

    • referencegirl

      Yes, I felt exactly the same way.

    • Maire OhAirt

      Managed to finish it….no clue why it’s supposed to be so amazing. Absolutely boring. No point really at all

      • David

        I agree. I couldn’t see what was so incredible about it. I just thought it was cumbersome and annoying.

    • yeahisaidspurs

      I loved that bokk; thought it was hilarious

  • Tara

    The Hobbit. I have tried it a few times, but just can’t get into it.

    • Sandy

      It’s cute, you have to be patient and really act out the characters in your mind. I did not like all the walking and walking and walking through the forest they do in every one of those books though.

  • Bill Whitworth

    I have tried 3 times to get into The Passage. Post apocalyptic dystopia, “vampires” – it seems like this book should have it all, everything I love. But I just. Can’t. Do it.

    • referencegirl

      I got into it on the second try and have read the second book. But the story does get dull at times.

    • Lori Willett

      I felt exactly the same way. Overhyped book.

    • Sandy Spencer

      It just so happens I’ve forced myself down to the last 100 pages of this book, and it’s definitely been a painful journey.

    • Sara Woody Kubas

      I listened to it on CD. Much better, the voices are great. But just try describing glow stick vampires to someone and the look on their faces is priceless. But did enjoy the book much more as I got into it.

  • Nichole

    A Casual Vacancy – I tried, I really did. I just couldn’t finish

  • Hannah Elizabeth Hendra

    Moby Dick and Gone with the Wind. Long winded. I can’t take it. How long does it take to say the man is eating bread? And as far as Gone with the Wind, I HATE Scarlett, and hating the heroine makes it hard to enjoy the book. :(

    • Aubrey Pedersen Sorenson

      That’s my problem with Wizard of Earthsea. Ged is just so unlikeable for me I can’t read for more than a couple of pages at a time.

    • Beatrice Drury

      I am so glad I am not the only one who hated Scarlett. I’ve heard so many people hold her up to be emulated and thought how horrible a person she was. I did finish the book however.

      • Debra L Brown

        I’ve read GWTW 22 times, the first being when I was 10. Scarlett was a spoiled brat, but she did love.

    • Debra Patrick Hills

      I think I read about 50 pages of Moby Dick in school before deciding it was torturously boring. But I did get an A on the book report. Thank you Cliff Notes. (Don’t tell Miss Driscoll!)

  • Teresa Mankin

    Causal Vacancy. Not my thing.

  • Robert Hunt

    “On the Road” – I’ve started it three times in the last forty years. Also gave up on “The DaVinci Code” after about 100 pages. But I should add that many of my favorite books required two or three false starts before actually pulling me in…

    • barjobo

      oh, thanks for mentioning on the road. i kept it around for ages, but finally realized it was just not enjoyable and i’d never care.

  • Cassandra Elise

    Watership Down by Richard Adams and Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. Both were boring, tedious and took forever to explain anything.

  • Guin Reese

    Mine is “The Poisonwood Bible”, I’ve had this books for years and still can’t finish it. Mind you I start with good intentions but this book has definitely defeated me.

    • orquideas

      Don’t bother finishing it. Donate it to your local library’s annual book sale.

  • Rochelle Flosi

    The Crystal Cave. One of my mother’s favorites and the beginning of a series. but no matter how many times I have tried to start that book I just can’t get through it, and thus, can’t read the series.

    • barjobo

      and i usually love mary stewart! i’m with you on this one!

  • msubando

    Watership Down

  • http://arachnae.blogspot.com Arachnae

    Book six of any never-ending fantasy series. By book five, I’ve worn out my ability to give a sh!t.

  • Andrea Badgley

    The Book Thief. My mom was heartbroken that I didn’t like it, but it was just too gimmicky. Also, Les Miserables. I tried. Really hard. But to still be struggling, and forcing, and rallying, and rallying, and
    rallying after 700 pages is excessive. Especially when there are another
    700 pages to go and you realize that one day you will die, and that day
    is getting closer with every day, every minute, every precious second
    that you are alive.

    • Sandy

      I liked The Book Thief. I thought it was cute.

    • Holly Hardy

      I’m with you as far as Les Miserables is concerned. You get to the point where you just want them to kill each other and have done with it! The ENDLESS struggles of everyone – Yes!

  • Samantha Emery

    Only Revolutions by mark z danielewski. I loved House of Leaves, but I just can’t handle flipping the book back and forth, I have to think about it too much. Seven pages, flip, seven pages, flip

  • shelia

    Mine are: Harry Potter, Hobbit, and the Twilight series! I was teaching students in grades 4-9 and felt I needed to read them to know what my student’s were reading!

  • Alexis

    Wicked. Took me several tries, finally got 100 pages in, and put it down for good because I didn’t like some of the “adult” scenes—and I’m not easily offended!

    • Mary Kay Zolezzi

      I despised Wicked. You made the right choice not to finish.

    • Bri

      I had such a hard time with it as well. I did end up finishing it, but I didn’t like it at all.

      • Sandy

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like this book. I thought I was missing out on something since the made it into a musical and all.

        • Sue S.

          I finished the book but had a hard time getting into it and didn’t enjoy it. I agree about the adult scenes as well…it turned me off even more. I DID like the musical but won’t ever read the rest of the series.

          • Debra L Brown

            I read two pages and was done.

    • Jennifer Scharf Enlow

      Same here. It was just too difficult to read. I didn’t enjoy it at all.

    • Debi Biderman

      I could NOT get into this book either!

  • Stephanie Boyd

    The Casual Vacancy. I wanted so much to love the book, but the characters weren’t even likable. I couldn’t get through it!

    • Shari Petrovich

      I so agree!

      • Bonnie Fisher-Bolduc

        I definitely agree. While I eventually finished the book, it was not at all what I expected. There were too many characters and they were introduced too quickly. Once I learned who was who, they were just no likable at all.


    • http://dponline.org/weblog Dona Patrick

      I actually loved that book, unlikable characters and all.

      • Shannon Topp Thole

        I am really glad I stuck it out and finished Casual Vacancy (albeit I almost didn’t) By the end of the book the “big picture” became more evident and brought more meaning and understanding to previous pages.

      • Dani

        I agree, the beginning was a little slow going but I am so glad I stuck with it. Really enjoyed it!

  • Patty Veresink

    An American Tragedy – when that girl starts talking baby talk I just want to throw the book across the room. So little happens and the characters all seem so pointedly blind or naïve to their situation and what’s going on around them, it just drives me nuts. With characters I hate and a slow lumbering plotline, I just can’t finish it.

    • yeahisaidspurs

      Yes, I find all Dreiser painful to wade through, but American Tragedy is actually excrutusting to read.

  • Stephanie Vinson Campbell

    The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky; I forced it upon myself for two years – it was great if I needed to go to sleep. I couldn’t keep any of the names straight so I never knew who was doing what. However, I loved The Poisonwood Bible.

  • NymphadoraTonks

    The Hobbit. I tried, but it was so hard to get through.. why are there so many songs breaking up the action?!

    • Carolyn Rust

      Same for me. I have tried dozens of times to read this book (and the Lord of the Rings) but cannot get into the pace of the story.

      • NymphadoraTonks

        I’m gonna try again before the next film comes out, probably, but.. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through it.

  • Jamie

    I have tried to read War and Peace so many times, and even though I thoroughly enjoy every word of what I do read, I stop part way through and when I pick it back up, cannot remember anything that happened and have to start all over.

  • Holly

    The Passage. Got half way through, and couldn’t take any more. The Casual Vacancy – I want to like it. I enjoy reading it, but I never get to a point where I can’t put the book down.

  • Michele Barnhart Rankin

    1. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo…I’ve tried, four or five times, but I can’t get into it. 2. Watership Down ( good to know I’m not alone) 3. Moby Dick….do people really read this? I don’t believe them. 4. Gulliver’s Travels…yep. Faked the term paper. 5. The Sun Also Rises. Not a Hemingway fan.

    • LobsterGator

      Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I feel your pain! I couldn’t get into it and kept asking everyone I knew who loved it how they got through it. “Just keep reading, it picks up about half way through..” No. Thank. You. It’s got to pull me in from the get-go or I chuck it.

    • Cindy Moore Lanning

      Thanks for the memories…I couldn’t get into the Tattoo books either. Loved the movies…couldn’t read the books.

    • Sandy

      I don’t want to read The Girl with the Dragon Tatto from what I’ve heard of it. I really don’t care for gratuitous kinky sex in books. I’ve also tried The Sun Also Rises and decided I am not a fan of Hemingway either. I thought Watership Down was cute but you have to be very patient with it. I don’t know anyone who’s actually liked Moby Dick so I haven’t read it. Gulliver’s Travels sounds cute but I’ve seen it on cartoons enough not to be interested.

    • Aubrey Pedersen Sorenson

      Not Hemingway fan either, but I did finish Sun Also Rises. Also finished Gulliver’s Travels but hated it more each page. Definitely not rereadable.

    • Katie Strand

      WATERSHIP DOWN. Ugh, when I was in 7th grade this was the book the teacher strongly recommended I read for our chosen book report. She disapproved of my choice (Redwall) and told me this would be better. I struggled so much with it that in the end I went with Redwall and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • DeeDee Cameron

      I tried several times when I was a teenager to read Watership Down & couldn’t do it. Now Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I blew through (as well as the other two books) – Lisbeth is just such an interesting character to me.

    • Dani

      Girl Who Played With Fire is much better than the first in the series.

    • Debi Biderman

      GWDT still waiting to be read…even on my nothing to read days I can’t get into it.

  • Mia S.

    The Sound and the Fury, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Lolita

  • OKStateFan

    The Hobbit – I just couldn’t get into it – I read a lot but just not fantasy and believe me I tried with this one in high school in the 70’s EVERYONE read it except me and I read everything else but just couldn’t get into it!!!!

  • Kathy Hamilton Young

    Pride and Prejudice, Wolf Hall, Fifty Shades of Grey series (yuck!)

    • barjobo

      DK wolf hall, but don’t even WANT to try the grey series; esp. after hearing how it originated as vampire-mocking fan fiction!

  • Lonnie Beene

    I think I own the world’s record for number of times (8) starting and not finishing The Hobbit.

    • Brandi Barrett Elkins

      I have tried at least a dozen times to finish my albatross- Anna Karenina.
      I would never even try that many times to read The Hobbit. 😉

  • Marty Lloyd Woldman

    Dude. The loss of a book, an ipod, and a loaf of bread scarred you so profoundly you can’t bear the sight of a book cover? Grow a spine.

  • Heather Scott-Penselin

    The Poisonwood Bible. I remember starting it once but never finished it and I don’t remember why. There was another book I started and never finished but I can’t even remember the name of it -something with “camels” in the title.

  • Zepher07

    The Scarlet Letter (shh! don’t tell my professor). I managed to read enough bits and pieces to have an intelligent discussion, but I could not read the whole thing. It was dull and melancholy, and not in a good, angst filled way, but in way that drug on and on.
    Some more contemporary books are the Harry Potter series and Wicked. Harry Potter just got too dark for me around the fifth book and Wicked was just disturbing from the beginning. Loved the musical though.

  • ltrasczak

    House of the Seven Gables. It is not a fast moving book.

  • referencegirl

    I read all the way through the Poisonwood Bible despite several attempts not to because, frankly, I was just not that int it. But I just had to find out what happened to the girls. The ending is satisfying, however the book as a whole is just not very good so don’t feel bad.

    Mine are…

    Tropic of Cancer because I was horrified by all the misogyny. I’m sorry but I wll never ever understand how anyone can stand to read that all the way through or how that pile of rubbish can be considered a literary classic.

    Walden Pond. I feel guilty about this one but it should be called Walden Nap because that is what I wind up doing every time I try to read it.

    Odyssey. I got on a kick thinking I should read the tombs that had sparked so many interpretations. Turns out the interpretations are less convoluted.

    It. Because two chapters about a flood is my limit.

    Moby Dick. The last time I tried this I was in high-school so I may feel differently now and might go ahead and try it again.

    • Marty Lloyd Woldman

      I find it strange that all the biggest Henry Miller fans I know are women. It’s also fascinating to me that the book went all the way to press as what seems to be a rough draft. Homie needs to edit.

  • orquideas

    I actually forced myself to finish The Poisonwood Bible and I was so angry with the ending I wanted to throw the book in the fireplace and burn it.

    • Debra L Brown

      Didn’t get past page three in that one. Decided life was to short.

  • Renee Burton

    Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I should love this book. I really should. It was recommended by Neil Gaiman. Everything about it seems like it was mean for me and yet I can’t finish it. I once compared it to an aloof boyfriend though. As much as I want to love it, he doesn’t want to love me. 😛

    • Colleen Sullivan Leh

      I forced myself to finish. It didn’t get any better, sad to say.

    • Debi Biderman

      I am struggling with this book now. I keep trying but after about 350 pages I just stopped!!!

  • Heather Abbott

    I could not get through Eat, Pray, Love…now I am struggling with Life of Pi.

    • Debra L Brown

      I was on a road trip and rented the Life of Pi from Cracker Barrel. Traded it the next stop.

  • http://mghollis.blogspot.com/ Melinda

    Game of Thrones. I wanted to see what every one was going on about. Sorry, I can’t get past the incest. And for everyone struggling with Les Mis, it took me about 4 years to get all the way through the unabridged version.

    • http://mghollis.blogspot.com/ Melinda

      Oh, and I read 2 of the Sookie Stackhouse books, but they aren’t really my thing.

      • Angela Snapp

        I loved both of these series’. I can’t wait for the next GOT to hit the shelves.

  • Gala Caproni

    Politcs by Aristotle and Republic by Plato
    Also the third book in the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

  • Victoria Patterson

    Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It just cuts away from the main story too much to keep my attention!

  • Cindy Moore Lanning

    Oh my! Your first three are some of my all time favorites. I remember trying to read A Prayer for Owen Meany at least four times before it finally took. Thank goodness I made it…truly a great read. I haven’t been able to finish the lastest Tom Wolfe nor Wolf Hall. I don’t think there’s a correlation, but you never know! Luckily I’ve been quite happy with my books of late.

  • barjobo

    The Return of the King. I forced my way thru Middle Earth, but eventually just didn’t care any more. The Hobbit: too many characters to keep track of on the first page. The Book Thief. Anna Karenina (after reading most of the other Russian Classics). And most Dr. Seuss books: SO boring!

  • Allison Stark

    Middlesex. I got about a third of the way into it, but it was a fight that I finally conceded. So many of my friends love it, but I just couldn’t do it.
    Also- It took me a couple of times to get into Kavalier and Clay, too.

  • Holly Marceaux

    The Grapes of Wrath. I’ve tried it a few times and always stop at the Turtle Chapter. Maybe it’s time to try again now that I’ve gotten older?

    • Elizabeth Ross

      I feel you, I was listening to it on tape because I just couldn’t read it. I would put it down. That turtle is the joke between my mom and me.

    • Jennifer Scharf Enlow

      When I was in high school, The Grapes of Wrath was assigned in sophomore English class. The teacher told us to skip over all the turtle chapters! LOL!

  • Florence Gartner

    The Tin Drum

  • BlackCat29

    I just chucked The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Horrible, tedious book. All tell, no show and vapid, wholly unlikable characters. I’ve never given up on a book simply because it was so bad, and I’ve never felt such animosity towards a work of “art.” I have, however, put a few books down and, distracted by a shiny new book, forgotten to pick them back up (Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, Camus’ The Plague). I may go back to these one day. I was enjoying them, too… but apparently not enough to finish at the time.

    • JennDM

      You forgot to mention derivative. I did read it all the way through, but I have actively discouraged others from following suit.

      • BlackCat29

        Of course! Derivative, in the most unimaginative way possible. I typically try take “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” as my online-posting mantra, but this book was just so bad.

  • scohl

    Game of Thrones. Tried, lost interest, tried again, lost interest, gave it one last shot, lost interest.

  • Blanca Rivas

    1) A Storm or Swords – Not because I don’t get into it, but because I get overwhelmed by so many names that is hard to keep up with who is who. 2) Mockingjay – Been stuck on chapter 1 for like half a year! 3) Man Seeks God: My Flirtation with the Divine – Love Eric Weiner writing style. He’s so witty and had a good sense of humor. Loved his Geography of Bliss but the reason I haven’t been able to keep up with so many books is mostly time. Hopefully I can finish all three books before the summer ends!

  • Betsy L. Komarek Morales

    Smilla’s Sense of Snow…Wuthering Heights…and I did manage to get thru On The Road and The Stranger by Camus, however I don’t recommend them to anyone …EVER lol

  • Elizabeth Ross

    Grapes of Wrath, Twilight series, and The Kite Runner, I just could not pick them back up. Tried to read Twilight for me sister, she loves the series. The others were books that I had to read for classes which I do not mind because I have found several books I love from those classes. Rape, taking several chapters to talk about a turtle are just downers for me.

    • Megan

      Grapes of Wrath was the first book I never finished. It was AWFUL. I’m sad you didn’t like Kite Runner, though; it’s one of my very favorite books. So incredibly sad, but so good.

    • Marcia Zarzeck

      loved The Kite Runner…couldn’t put it down…

    • Holly Hardy

      The Kite Runner was too brutal for me. I tried to jump on the Twilight bandwagon, but I found myself thinking about how much I’d have liked it when I was 14, and how much of a waste of time it was for me as an adult! Two chapters, max.

    • DeeDee Cameron

      Have you read East of Eden? As bad as Grapes of Wrath was is how good EoE is. Funny how the same author can have completely different books.

      • Debi Biderman

        I loved East of Eden but found Grapes of Wrath somewhat like “The Road” just wanted to kill mysef when I was done reading.

  • Jim Bohannon

    Cold Mountain. The deeper I got into the book…the deeper I sunk into depression. Never has reading a book made me feel so miserable. Halfway through, I had to give up, for my sanity’s sake!

    • DeeDee Cameron

      I started reading it, then watched the movie and decided not to finish the book because holy crap, depressing!

  • David

    I started and LOATHED Fifty Shades of Grey. Both main characters were idiots to me. Happy I chose to never finish it and not follow the crowd.

  • Bridgette ‘Leonard’ Ramaley

    One Hundres Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I just couldn’t do it, it was like torture! It got to the point where I didn’t even have any idea what I was reading so I put it down and have never had any desire to try and pick it up again.

    • Suzy Hillard

      I got only about 60 pages and knew I wouldn’t like it – those 60 pages felt like 100 years! Everyone else in my book club finished it and hated it.

  • Eva

    The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks has everything I want in a fantasy series. I have read half or more than half of book one but haven’t touched it since I started and even finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I can’t get back to it! It’s there in my bookshelf, collecting dust and mocking me. Truth be told, I don’t know if I’ll ever pick it up again…

  • Maire OhAirt

    So very glad I’m not alone on not being able to finish Wicked– the musical is amazing but the book not so much.
    Also Eat Pray Love awful awful awful book

    • Deborah Mattin

      I thought I was the only one who hated EPL. Awful, awful sums it up for me as well.

    • Debra L Brown

      I didn’t read Eat, Pray, Love, but the movie was horrible, so I didn’t waste my time reading a book with such a vapid character.

  • Megan

    Grapes of Wrath and Robinson Crusoe. Terrible, awful, horrendous books.

    • yeahisaidspurs

      You don’t like them, which is fine. Your critical analysis: not so fine

  • Sandy

    The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. I tried reading it on the plane but couldn’t concentrate with the engine noises.

  • Shari Petrovich

    I tried Casual Vacancy and Joe Hill’s book (can’t remember the letters & numbers) didn’t enjoy either. I tried and in the past I have forced myself to finish a book but I am now at an age where , if it sucks I am done.

    • DeeDee Cameron

      Right there with you Shari! If a book doesn’t get me in the first 100 pages, I say to heck with it. I have WAY too many books on my Kindle and Nook app to get stuck reading something that doesn’t suck me in and make me lose track of time.

  • SS B

    Norman Mailer’s last book – the one about Hitler. I can’t even remember the name of it…perhaps something about bees. Horrible.

  • jburke

    I actually read three of the books you couldn’t finish. They are The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (it was via audiobook) , The Poisonwood Bible and Empire Falls. My albatross is Under the Tuscan Sun. I don’t know why but I lost interest and never finished it.

  • JoNell Carlstrom Smith

    There have been several over the years, but the one that immediately popped into my head was Misery, by Stephen King. I enjoyed all of his books up to that point, but it just got a bit grisly for me, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve only read a couple more by him since, and couldn’t get through those, either. Under The Dome lasted about 3 chapters. Oddly enough, The Stand remains one of my favorites. Author Trish Marie Dawson has a series of books about a post flu scenario that I have enjoyed, the first one is called I Hope You Find Me. The second book in the series is has also been released, but the third won’t be out until next year. Check them out, they’re very good. The stories are based in San Diego, where I am from, so that’s part of the draw, I’m sure.

  • Aubrey Pedersen Sorenson

    Moby Dick. I could not for the life of me get in to that book. I read maybe 5 chapters and just quit. Les Miserables is another one, but I’m still trying with that. I need a map of France and Wikipedia to help me with it, though.

    • Debra L Brown

      Okay, for those who are virgins to Les Miserables, read the short version. I know there was a short version because that is the one I read 10 times. I love that book, and the full version is on my ipad. It’s to heavy for my hands.

  • Phillip

    The Tale of Two Cities I realy tried to get into this book but had to put it down.

  • Jennifer Scharf Enlow

    I could not finish Mockingjay; I ended up skimming over the last few chapters to find out what happened to the characters because I couldn’t read that book any longer. I am a big Carl Hiaasen fan, but I have never been able to finish Nature Girl, either.

    • DeeDee Cameron

      Me either (regarding Mockingjay)! I read the first two in a couple of days, but Mockingjay almost put me to sleep. And they’re going to make that one into two movies? How? Why? How??

  • Kristin Bedell-Hustedt

    Ive started Moby Dick over a dozen times, know the first chapter by heart…. havent made it more then 80 pages in… i really WANT to finish the book, but the type is always so small, and i end up choosing something else.

  • Amy Fuchsteiner

    1) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. 2) Everything is Illuminated. 3)The Elegance of the Hedgehog. 4) Room 5) The Weird Sisters

    • Brandi Barrett Elkins

      Oh…AHWSG is my all-time favorite read. I’ve read it several times. It really appeals to my sense of humor.

      • Amy Fuchsteiner

        Apparenty I just didn’t get it. I didn’t find it funny. Just whiney and self serving. I had to put it down to keep from yelling at the book.

  • Jessica Chandos

    Great Expectations, Game of Thrones and Wicked. Every time I have a break between books I try to ready one of these three. I’ve been trying to get through Great Expectations since I was in 7th grade. No matter how many times I try all three have the same problem, they are all so SLOW!! I get that you need to build a scene, but really, the point of a book is that you let your imagination fill in the blanks. That’s what I love about reading so much is that its a different experience for each person. But these three book just DRAG me through it and after several pages I just have to put it back down. If the book goes on for PAGES AND PAGES without anything really happening then its no good. Capture the scene in about a paragraph or so and MOVE ON!! I loved the Movie/Theatrical versions of each because the stories were really good, and since there wasn’t so much time wasted on describing every detail of the scene it was fast paced and kept my attention.

    • Debi Biderman

      I loved “Great Expectations…all Dickens…was bedridden with mono and read all of his books. Don’t think I could do THAT again!!!

  • carma62918

    Beowulf and Don Quixote

  • Janet Filosa

    Finnegan’s Wake. Impossible!!!

    • Debi Biderman


  • Angela Snapp

    50 Shades of Gray. I got stuck on the last 2 chapters of book 2. I made it through the first book, but I just can’t stand a masochistic millionaire that won’t stop whining.

    • Holly Hardy

      I tried to read the first book, but I didn’t like either of the main characters. The female character didn’t seem interesting enough to spend 15 minutes with. Yeah, millionaire whiners – how exciting to read about them!

  • Mary Ann Shaklee

    Les Miserables–Hugo goes on and on and on about every little thing. Guess seeing the movie first made it a tough read. My goal is to finish it though

  • BJ Strickland

    “Confederacy of Dunces” and “The World According to Garp”. Both totally turned me off.

  • http://DyrePortents.com Dyre42

    Death Mark by Robert J Schwalb bought it because he’s a friend of mine.

  • Casey Gonzales

    Dreamcatcher by Stephen King. He’s my favorite author & I tried reading it twice & listening to it on audiobook. I managed to get through the movie, which is awful, so I gave up on the book after seeing it.

  • Deborah Mattin

    The Map of the World-tried twice, but still couldn’t take it.
    Eat, Pray, Love – OY!
    Little Bee-hated the ending.

    • Brandi Barrett Elkins

      Little Bee! UGH. Glad to hear I am not alone. Such a depressing read.
      I DID finish it though. And then told everyone I know how horrible it was and not to waste their time with it.

      • Sue S.

        I try to finish books as well but I hated the ending of Little Bee as well. I was too happy with Eat, Pray, Love either.

  • Jonathan Gerber

    Moby Dick.

  • Beatrice Drury

    I tried my best to finish Dr. Zhivago. Finally put it down at page 309. I was utterly confused by multiple names for each person and utterly bored by it all.

  • Sue S.

    The ONLY book that I did not finish is The House of Sand and Fog. I like to read before I go to sleep and it was TOO depressing. I read lots of books with plots that are depressing but this was just too much. Some books which are depressing can also be great reads, like The Hunger Games. I also hated Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell which I picked up because it was on Oprah’s Book List and I regret reading it.

  • Judy Rahn

    Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I’ve tried to read it several times but just can’t stand it. And I’ve read a lesser known book by her: Night of January 15, and I liked it.

  • DeeDee Cameron

    Mockingjay (didn’t even make it halfway, how they’re planning to make it into two movies is beyond me), Lisey’s Story (Stephen King is my god but that book just put me to sleep), Watership Down (when your protagonists are rabbits…yeah, not good), and anything by Hemingway.

  • Dani

    Atlas Shrugged. I just cannot do it.

  • Shannon Topp Thole

    1) The Hobbit-tried twice, apparently NOT my cup of tea. 2) Memoirs of a Geisha-I tried..don’t know if I made it through the first chapter.

  • Cherie Lamphear Stanitis

    Pride and Prejudice… I really really tried but found it to be so boring that my mind would drift while reading it. That says a lot because I’ll read just about anything.

    • yeahisaidspurs

      I can’t even imagine anyone not liking Pride and Prejudice. The mind boggles.

  • Kiri Simmons

    Les Misérables (unabridged), The Brothers Karmazov, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Afterglow. I wanted so badly to finish the first two! Maybe Ill stab at miserables abridged

  • Californiagirl1890

    Vellum by Hal Duncan. My friend gave it to me and a bunch of other people to read and none of us could get through it (and we are literary people!) it is so boring and SO UNBELIEVABLY CONFUSING that after 70 or so pages I had to give up. No one I know who has tried can finish it.

  • Krista Loryn Cannon

    I cannot finish Life of Pi. And I have felt so guilty about it because so many people love it and it is even a movie now!! But seriously…pages and pages and pages of what is happening in the ocean. The beginning was great but I couldn’t keep living with him on the ocean for half the book. Maybe I’ll just have to settle for the movie…

  • Debi Biderman

    Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon,

  • Debi Biderman

    Fifty Shades of Gray…EL James…what is up with this. It is terrible writing!

  • Tim Newman

    Atlas Shrugged. I’ve started it on 3 separate occasions and usually get bored when one of the characters expounds ad nauseum about Ayn Rand’s philosophies. Which I agree with on a lot of points, but 5 pages is a lot to take in

  • Stephen Bitsoli

    FYI: The Michael Chabon novel is “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” not “Cavalier & Klay.”

  • Bob Becker

    Papillon. By the halfway point, where I quit, I was rooting for the guards.

  • lecriveur

    Message in a Bottle. I got about halfway through, set it down one day, and never picked it up again.

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